It's time for a book review. I just completed How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Chistensen. Christensen is an award winning professor at the Harvard Business School. Although the title of the book sounds like it is about setting goals and making plans, the book is much broader than that.
The author combines plans for personal life, business and family. He takes most of his examples from the good and bad choices businesses have made.
Some of my favorite thoughts from the book include:
Solving the challenges in your life requires a deep understanding of what causes what to happen.
How do you allocate your time, talent, and resources? What is your strategy? What do you want to achieve and how will you get there?
What motivates you? True motivation is intrinsic. Financial motivation rarely satisfies the quest for meaning. He uses the quote, "Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life."
From page 61, and one of my favorite thoughts, Change can often be difficult and it will probably seem easier to just stick with what you are already doing. That thinking can be dangerous.
Where you spend your time, energy, and money determines what is really important to you.
A strategy is nothing but good intentions unless it is effectively implemented.
Chapter 6, "What did you hire the milkshake for?" is most intriguing. He points out that goods and services meet a need or serve a purpose. It is our job or a business' job to find out what need the item is meeting. He used a milkshake as an example. I think of the ipad, iphone and ipod. Steve Jobs was so forward thinking that he could figure out what we needed or wanted before we knew we wanted it. The author points out that businesses fail when they don't pay attention to what is happening around them. We can't go forward by maintaining the status quo.
Regarding school, he suggested that children are not motivated by school itself. However, they do like to have friends and be successful. He suggests that schools work on developing those two motivations for children by giving them many opportunities to succeed. He didn't really address how to develop friends.
In the last few chapters, Christensen relates business practice to home life. He offers some great advice about raising children and developing a family culture. He emphasizes living out character traits such as honesty, kindness, and the desire to work hard. Also, he cautions against allowing children to be involved in too many outside activities--he suggests that we not completely outsource our child rearing.
Although not everyone will be interested in reading a book like this, I think it is thought provoking and helpful, especially when desiring to develop a purpose in life. It was highly recommended by Hugh Hewitt.